Born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, McCarthy earned a law degree at Marquette University in 1935 and was elected as a circuit judge in 1939, the youngest in state history.
At age 33, McCarthy volunteered for the United States Marine Corps and served during World War II.
He successfully ran for the United States Senate in 1946, defeating Robert M. La Follette, Jr.
After several largely undistinguished years in the Senate, McCarthy rose suddenly to national fame in 1950 when he asserted in a speech that he had a list of "members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring" who were employed in the State Department.
Only asked himself 2 questions for anything he did:
What do I want?
How do I get it?
In the early ’50s, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy made headlines.
He claimed that communists were taking over the government.
He also said the Democrats were guilty of treason for allowing this Communist infiltration.
The McCarthy Era
“ I hold in my hand a list of 205 people who were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy at the State Department.”
Senator Joe McCarthy (1950)
McCarthy Launches His “Witch Hunt”…
Senator Joe McCarthy
1950- Wisconsin senator in trouble for his upcoming re-election.
Needed an issue to keep people from looking at him.
McCarthy’s unsupported attacks on suspected Communists became known as McCarthyism . McCarthy brandishing one of his lists.
Used innuendo and wild accusations against increasingly “big” targets.
Former General Marshall and then Secretary of State
Journalist Edward R. Murrow
In 1954, McCarthy made accusations against the U.S. Army.
The Senate hearings were broadcast on national television.
The American people watched McCarthy bully witnesses but produce no evidence.
McCarthy lost public favor. The Senate voted to condemn him.
Accusations of trying to keep an assistant from being drafted.
Accusations against people that the public respected.